30+ Year Old Tomato Seeds Germinating!

OhioGardener
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30+ Year Old Tomato Seeds Germinating!

#1

Post: # 69153Unread post OhioGardener
Sat May 07, 2022 2:02 am

On a whim this year, I decided to go back and try to germinate some of my original Bychye Serdtse Rozovoe seeds from USSR in 1991. I expected low germination if any at all at this point. However, I'm totally flabbergasted that 8/10 are in the process of sprouting so far! There's no question they're my original seeds because I still have the folded paper they were on with my friend's mom's handwriting. I'm wondering now if tomato seeds in general have a much longer viability period than typically referenced? I have a large stash of seeds from 2014 that still also seem to have excellent viability.
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Debbie

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Re: 30+ Year Old Tomato Seeds Germinating!

#2

Post: # 69156Unread post Setec Astronomy
Sat May 07, 2022 6:29 am

That's crazy. How were they stored all this time?

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Bower
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Re: 30+ Year Old Tomato Seeds Germinating!

#3

Post: # 69161Unread post Bower
Sat May 07, 2022 7:14 am

That's amazing Debbie! :) I wonder if the gel left on the seeds helped them to retain an optimal moisture content all these years.

The only time I had a batch of seeds with less than perfect germination, I had let them dry out too much during the winter heating season when house humidity is way low, instead of stashing them away when they reached a reasonable dryness.
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ddsack
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Re: 30+ Year Old Tomato Seeds Germinating!

#4

Post: # 69175Unread post ddsack
Sat May 07, 2022 9:35 am

Fantastic, Debbie! I am pretty confident in my own saved tomato seeds up to around 15 years old, kept at room temperature. Much older and success rates rates drop, but have germinated some older ones too. With purchased or trade seeds that have spent time in the mail, you never know what to expect. I am happy to hear of your 30 year old seed success!

OhioGardener
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Re: 30+ Year Old Tomato Seeds Germinating!

#5

Post: # 69181Unread post OhioGardener
Sat May 07, 2022 10:39 am

To answer some of the questions, each original variety was put inside a white envelope when I got home and stored inside a quart sized ziplock bag. Most of the time these were kept in a bottom refrigerator drawer. Regarding the original collection methods, I know I received them in Moscow in July 1991 after my friend's mom brought them back from their dacha where they had a summer garden. I don't believe they were fermented at all, just wiped and dried on piece of paper which was labeled with the variety and corresponded to a written list that I also have. IMO it would make an interesting experiment to see if the seed gel plays a role in extending viability or if it was just a lucky combination of favorable environmental conditions.

The writing on the paper, by the way, translates to: 19. Tomatoes (Bychye Serdtse).
Debbie

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Re: 30+ Year Old Tomato Seeds Germinating!

#6

Post: # 69184Unread post Setec Astronomy
Sat May 07, 2022 11:26 am

OhioGardener wrote: Sat May 07, 2022 10:39 am Most of the time these were kept in a bottom refrigerator drawer.
I'm guessing that has a lot to do with it.

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Rockoe10
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Re: 30+ Year Old Tomato Seeds Germinating!

#7

Post: # 69195Unread post Rockoe10
Sat May 07, 2022 12:40 pm

That is incredible! I'm happy to hear of your success. That gives hope to my future self 😁
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Re: 30+ Year Old Tomato Seeds Germinating!

#8

Post: # 69205Unread post worth1
Sat May 07, 2022 2:56 pm

Unbelievable but believable.
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OhioGardener
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Re: 30+ Year Old Tomato Seeds Germinating!

#9

Post: # 69208Unread post OhioGardener
Sat May 07, 2022 3:33 pm

Another one popped up overnight and a few of the ones from yesterday managed to shed their helmets, so now we're at 9/10 of these old seeds! The Great Whites next to them are also old seeds and so far 2/5 are up. They were a strain I acquired from J.L.Hudson in 1990 and also from one of my early grow-outs.
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Re: 30+ Year Old Tomato Seeds Germinating!

#10

Post: # 69213Unread post WoodSprite
Sat May 07, 2022 4:35 pm

That's wonderful! Congratulations! I have some tomato seeds that I got in 2001 from a friend that had been growing and collecting his own seeds of this unknown Brandywine-like variety for 40+ years that I'd dearly love to germinate. I tried twice last year with "a pinch of the blue stuff" as Carolyn use to say but it didn't work for me.

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Re: 30+ Year Old Tomato Seeds Germinating!

#11

Post: # 69215Unread post Bower
Sat May 07, 2022 6:16 pm

I started some old seeds this year from 2008 and 2010 - just soaked in water overnight before planting with heat mat. The 2010 did about 30% and the 2008 produced way more than I expected, not sure of percentage because there were plenty and I oversowed by quite a lot, wanting half dozen plants, but I got 15. Those were old commercial seeds that traveled here by mail, so not bad at all... ;)
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JRinPA
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Re: 30+ Year Old Tomato Seeds Germinating!

#12

Post: # 69319Unread post JRinPA
Sun May 08, 2022 11:39 pm

Need to give yourself some credit for a green thumb, too. I hope they are some great tomatoes for you.

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